The crab apple tree artwork has arrived…

As usual Philip in the Laser Company did a wonderful job on these pieces.  See The Laser Company for more information on all the other series they offer.

Perspex is notoriously difficult to photograph so please excuse these images. The best thing to do with this piece will be to see it installed. The fluorescent red perspex will glow, twist and sway in the beautiful Rose Garden.

Crab apple – process behind the artwork

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The process behind the development of the artwork for the crab apple tree. See image above – a sample of one of the ten perspex pieces being etched and laser cut by Philip in the Laser Company for the Trinity College Trees Exhibition.

The artist was very lucky to have a wonderful fellow artist who took over the technological aspects of the crab tree artwork. I gave Ayelet Lalor the scanning electron microscope image, a drawing of this image segmented into ten pieces and ten pieces of unique handwriting from willing participants who visited the Rose Garden in Trinity College Dublin during May 2017. See all images below.

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Firstly Ayelet drew out the segmented sections. She then imported all the text into these segments along curved lines that she created. She inserted hanging holes and spent a long amount of time tweaking the thickness of the handwriting.  See images below.

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All this process sounds reasonably simple but she put a huge amount of work into and I and the team are very grateful.

To follow a little bit of information about Ayelet herself and below an image of her work.

“Ayelet Lalor is a visual artist whose figurative work includes clay, concrete and bronze,and more recently, print. Her work has been shown both nationally and internationally, and is included in significant public and corporate collections.”

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‘Wild flower walk’, screen print by Ayelet Lalor, 2017.

Behind the artworks – The Crab Apple Tree

The Crab Apple Tree, Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ (Trinity Tree number 298). Inside the Rose garden.

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The Crab Apple is a small tree, bearing attractive pink/white apple blossoms in the spring and small apples in the autumn. It is a native species found in hedgerows and old woodlands throughout the countryside. Unlike modern hybrid apples, crab apples grow true from the apple pips.  See above image of the crab apple tree in the Rose Garden, Trinity College Dublin.

The apple tree is celebrated in Celtic mythology, legend, and folklore as an emblem of fruitfulness and is sometimes seen as a means to immortality.

Each microscopic image taken for this project represents a snapshot in time as each tree, leaf and branch are in a constant state of change. For the crab apple tree artwork the artist decided to engage with this notion of time or more specifically the people that lingered in the Rose Garden between 12 noon and 2pm on Friday the 12th of May 2017.  The resultant artwork reflects the mood and sentiments of ten willing participants who were resting in the intimate and peaceful surroundings of the Rose garden.   

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For the duration of the exhibition Hassett has installed ten perspex pieces, which have been hung from various branches of the Crab apple tree.  This piece is reminiscent not only of  rag trees where people tie ribbons and ask for blessings but also trees of hope and remembrance.  The image above was taken last May and is of a cherry blossom tree in the Rose Garden.  

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Together the ten pieces join to reflect an image taken of the dried out skin of the apple fruit. See image above taken by Clodagh Dooley.

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Etched onto each perspex element, in their own handwriting, is the participants response to the question ‘what do you think, feel about this space?’  See image above – sample of a perspex element.

Opening night – Guided exhibition walk

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As part of the opening event for the Trinity College Trees Exhibition there will be a guided walk to all the exhibits by one of the project team.   The walk will take place on Friday 29th September between 5.15-5.45.  There will be a limited number of spaces.  Details on how to sign up for the guided walk will be posted nearer the time.  

If you are unable to book a slot on the guided walk don’t worry the team are also in the process of developing a sound piece that will accompany those wishing to take a self guided walk from Saturday the 30th of September until the end of the exhibition.  Once the walker brings their own headphones they can visit the works at their leisure.   In front of each of the chosen trees the team also plan to have an A4 stand with a brief description of the project and the positioning of each tree on a campus map.

There will be two versions of sound piece depending on which end of the campus you are starting will determine the listing of the trees and which sound piece you click on.  One version of the sound piece covers the walk if you are starting in the main square at the Oregon Maple.  The other version if you are starting at the Science Gallery.  

Included in the audio piece is a brief introduction to the Trinity Trees Project, the trees involved and the artworks commissioned in response to these trees.

Celtic sacred trees – The crab apple

As the Crab apple tree was this week’s highlighted tree I thought I would include a blog about it’s mythological and sacred nature. At a later stage I will also look at the stories and symbolism associated with the Yew tree.

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In general many types of trees found in the Celtic nations are considered to be sacred, whether as symbols, or due to medicinal properties, or because they are seen as the abode of particular nature spirits. Historically and in folklore, the respect given to trees varies in different parts of the Celtic world. On the Isle of Man, the phrase ‘fairy tree’ often refers to the elder tree. The medieval Welsh poem Cad Goddeu (The Battle of the Trees) is believed to contain Celtic tree lore, possibly relating to the crann ogham, the branch of the ogham alphabet where tree names are used as mnemonic devices.

The pome fruit and tree of the apple is celebrated in numerous functions in Celtic mythology, legend, and folklore; it is an emblem of fruitfulness and sometimes a means to immortality. Wands of druids were made from wood either of the yew or of the apple.

Hand carved druid wand from apple wood

Crab apples have long been associated with love and marriage. It was said that if you throw the pips into the fire while saying the name of your love, the love is true if the pips explode. Apple wood was burned by the Celts during fertility rites and festivals, and Shakespeare makes reference to crab apples in A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Love’s Labour Lost.

To follow are brief synopsis of some legends that talk include references to the apple tree, which I found in Wikipedia.

The soul of Cú Roí was confined in an apple that lay in the stomach of a salmon which appeared once every seven years. Cúchulainn once gained his escape by following the path of a rolled apple. An apple-tree grew from the grave of the tragic lover Ailinn. In the Irish tale Echtrae Conli (The Adventure of Connla), Conle the son of Conn is fed an apple by a fairy lover, which sustains him with food and drink for a month without diminishing; but it also makes him long for the woman and the beautiful country of women to which his lover is enticing him. In the Irish story from the Mythological Cycle, Oidheadh Chlainne Tuireann, the first task given the Children of Tuireann is to retrieve the Apples of the Hesperides (or Hisbernia). Afallennau (Welsh, ‘apple trees’) is a 12th-century Welsh narrative poem dealing with Myrddin Wyllt. The Breton pseudosaint Konorin was reborn by means of an apple.

Tree spotlight no. 4 – The Crab Apple

 

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Crann fia-úll (Malus sylvestris)

Like the wild cherry, crab apple has been deliberately grown around old farmsteads (and the fruit used for crab apple jelly) but is also a truly native species found in old woodland. Crab apple is found in hedgerows throughout the Irish countryside. Unlike modern hybrid apples, crab apples grow true from the apple pips.


It is a small tree, very suitable for gardens. It bears attractive pink/white apple blossom in the spring, while the apples provide an autumn feature in the garden, as well as a useful crop.

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What does crab apple look like?

Overview: one of the ancestors of the cultivated apple (of which there are more than 6,000 varieties), it can live to up to 100 years. Mature trees grow to around 10m in height. They have an irregular, rounded shape and a wide, spreading canopy. With greyish brown, flecked bark, trees can become quite gnarled and twisted, especially when exposed, and the twigs often develop spines. This ‘crabbed’ appearance may have influenced its common name, ‘crab apple’.

The crab apple is one of the few host trees to the parasitic mistletoe, Viscum album, and trees are often covered in lichens.

Leaves: the brown and pointed leaf buds form on short stalks, and have downy hair on their tips, followed by glossy, oval leaves, which grow to a length of 6cm and have rounded triangular teeth.

Flowers: in spring, the sweetly scented blossom is pollinated by bees and other insects, which develops into small, yellow-green apple-like fruits, around 2-3cm across.

Fruits: sometimes the fruits are flushed with red or white spots when ripe. Birds and mammals eat the fruit and disperse the seeds.

Look out for: it has a ‘crabbed’ or spiny appearance because of gnarled and twisted twigs.

Where to find crab apple

Crab apple thrives best in heavy, moist, well-drained soil and areas of scrub. They grow throughout Europe.

Value to wildlife

The leaves are food for the caterpillars of many moths, including the eyed hawk-moth, green pug, Chinese character and pale tussock. The flowers provide an important source of early pollen and nectar for insects, particularly bees, and the fruit is eaten by birds, including blackbirds, thrushes and crows. Mammals, including mice, voles, foxes and badgers also eat crab apple fruit.

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How we use apple

The trees are often planted in commercial orchards as their long flowering period makes them excellent pollination partners for cultivated apples. The fruit can be roasted and served with meat or added to ales or punches. More commonly it is used to make crab apple jelly, and also as a natural source of pectin, for setting jams.

The pinkish wood has an even texture and makes good quality timber, and lends itself particularly well to carving and turning. It also makes a sweetly scented firewood. In Ireland a yellow dye was extracted from the bark to colour wool.

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Threats

The crab apple is susceptible to a variety of fungal infections, including apple scab, honey fungus and apple canker.  As you can see above the Crab Apple tree in the Rose Garden in Trinity College Dublin suffers from apple canker, the white furry residue on the bark. 

Introducing the Rose Garden

 

 

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Even at peak student population, you’ll sometimes have the Rose Garden to yourself. It is a small intimate space enclosed on three sides. The well-spaced benches and domestic-style planting make it feel like a haven in a busy campus.

I recently spent a wonderful afternoon in the Rose Garden surrounded by the cherry blossoms, which were in full bloom. The flowers created a blanket like structure that seemed to hover overhead defying gravity. I was also captivated by the various species of birds that seem to frequent the space. I was especially delighted to see what must have been an adult bird wandering around on the grass pulling up worms while a young chick followed along greedily eating the food passed to it from its parents beak. I will write more about my time in the Rose Garden in a future post as the responses I received from visitors to the garden will form part of the art work that will be placed in the Crab Apple Tree in September/ October 2017.

The Rose Garden itself is located between the end of Woodward and Deane’s Museum Building and its perpendicular neighbor, the number 40 block of New Square housing, with open space (the rugby pitch and College Park, with the cricket crease and running track) behind railings on the other two sides. The path into New Square is the only open side, and even this feels somewhat enclosed thanks to the large cherry blossom tree planted nearby.